Hydrow vs Concept2, Which is the Best Foldable Rowing Machine?

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Hydrow vs concept2 - which is the best rowing machine

Mark Stafford

If you’re thinking of getting better gym equipment for your home, a rowing machine can be an excellent option for a full-body workout.

Investing in good home gym equipment can help you to exercise regularly and conveniently. Having home equipment also means that you can fit workouts around your schedule. You don’t have to worry about packing a bag or traveling to the gym, and you could save money as you may no longer need a gym membership.

When buying a rowing machine for home use, you’ll want to know that it’s durable and reliable to ensure you’re getting good value for money.

It’s also helpful to understand how easily home gym equipment can be stored away when not in use. Some machines are compact; others are collapsible.

Why Choose an Indoor Rowing Machine? 

Working out on a rowing machine is a great way to burn calories and build strength. 

Rowing uses almost every muscle group in your body simultaneously, providing you with a full-body workout. 

Because it’s a low-impact exercise, it could also be suitable for those with joint issues. 

One study even found that rowing improved joint rotations in the elbow, shoulder, lumbar, and knees. 

In addition, the results showed that rowing reduced body fat percentage and improved the participants’ overall fitness levels, with muscle strength showing the most significant improvement. [1]

Rowing is also good for your posture, as you have to sit upright to pull with the correct technique. 

Here, we compare two of the best rowing machines, Hydrow and Concept2.

These brands are suitable for home use, especially as Hydrow is partially collapsible, and Concept2 can be easily separated into two pieces to take up less space.

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

Hydrow Rower

Hydrow is a premium rowing machine that also offers a wide variety of live classes.

The rower includes a 22-inch touchscreen display that can stream real-time or on-demand workouts if you are subscribed to a Hydrow membership. 

Hydrow uses reactive electromagnetic resistance to create a smooth and frictionless rowing experience. This is unlike traditional rowing machines, which may use loud fans or water to create resistance. 

It is partially foldable, but you will need to purchase an additional stand to do store it once folded.

Hydrow Offer

Save up to $150 on Hydrow Packages: Hydrow

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Concept2 Rower

Concept2 is another high-quality rowing machine suitable for home use. It uses fewer high-tech gadgets than Hydrow, but it is also cheaper.

The rower works using air resistance, so you might find that it’s a little louder than the Hydrow when used at a high intensity.

Concept2 rowers have wheels for easy transportation, and they can be separated into two pieces for more convenient storage.

Concept2 Offers

Concept2

How to Choose a Rowing Machine

When choosing a rowing machine for your home, essential things to consider include:

  • Machine size
  • Storage options
  • Noise levels
  • Your budget
  • Personal preferences (e.g. do you prefer high-tech gadgets or simple functions?)

If you live in a small space, the machine’s size and foldability will be essential factors, as will the ease with which you can move it around and store it.

If you live with others, the level of noise it generates could equally be a factor. So look for rowing machines that operate quietly, even at high intensities.

Overall, it’s best to assess what will best motivate you to exercise.

For example, a larger screen and live classes could provide better motivation if you like more interactive exercise from home. When a workout is more fun and more convenient, you’re more likely to complete it!

Hydrow vs Concept2 Rowers: Comparison Table

Hydrow vs Concept2 - best rowing machine Hydrow rowing machine Concept2 rowing machine
Resistance Technology Reactive electromagnetic resistance Air resistance
Intensity Electromagnetic resistance levels from 1-300. Damper settings from 1-10 (which alter the airflow in and out of the tank). The more intensely you row, the greater resistance will be.
Rower Size 86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H 96″ L x 24″ W x 30″ H
Weight 145 lbs 57 lbs
Frame Material Aluminum and steel Aluminum and steel
Weight capacity 375 lbs 500 lbs
Display 22” touchscreen PM5 Performance Monitor
Interactive Training Over 500 workout sessions on demand. None.
Heart Rate Monitor? Can be connected with Bluetooth Yes
Easy Storage Partially collapsible Not collapsible, but can be easily separated into 2 pieces
Price $2245 Around $900 – $1250
Shipping Cost Free $45-85 in the US
Shipping Areas US only from Hydrow website, available from retail partners in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and UK. Global
Refund Policy 30-day trial period offered with free returns. 30-day return policy. (doesn’t include shipping costs)
Warranty Structural frame: 5-year warranty.

Components and labor: 1-year warranty.

Frame parts: 5-year warranty.

All other parts: 2-year warranty.

External Reviews 4.7 out of 5 stars from 5,678 reviews. 4.9 out of 5 stars from 7,221 customer reviews.
Special Offers Save up to $150 with packages: Hydrow Latest offers: Concept2 Model D

How Long Do Rowing Machines Last?

The average expectancy of home gym equipment is generally around 7-12 years, but this can be much longer with proper maintenance.

How long a rowing machine lasts depends on the quality of the rowing machine and how often and at what intensity you use it.

Hydrow’s warranty covers the structural frame and upright storage kit for 5 years. The components (like the handle, strap, and seat) and labor are covered for 1 year.

Concept2 say that all of the parts on their machines are available and easy to replace if they experience wear and tear.

For their Model D and E rowers, their warranty covers the frame parts for 5 years and all other parts for 2 years.

Hydrow Rower Review

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

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About Hydrow

Hydrow is a premium exercise machine that offers more than a regular rower.

It’s one of the few rowing machines which uses electromagnetic resistance, whereas most others use air or water. This makes the Hydrow quieter and smoother to use.

When you buy the rower, you can also subscribe to the Hydrow membership. With this subscription, you get access to live classes led by world-class athletes.

In these classes you follow along as instructors row real boats on the water from various scenic locations. That way you can enjoy nature from the comfort of your own home.

Hydrow’s goal is to provide a fully immersive rowing experience.

Is Hydrow a Good Choice of Rower?

The Hydrow is a good choice if you’re looking for a premium rower that you can use to access interactive workouts.

It’s also quieter than other rowing machines and partially collapsible, making it convenient for home use.

These are the key benefits the Hydrow has to offer:

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Hydrow Review
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Up to $150 off packages: Hydrow

Immersive training with real rowers

Hydrow provide a Live Outdoor Reality experience through their streamed live and on-demand workouts. Hydrow Athletes lead these classes from the water.

Hydrow’s instructors are real rowers, and they say that many of them are training for the national teams. 

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Wide variety of workout content

Hydrow provide a wide variety of workouts to choose from. These include: 

  • live rowing
  • pre-recorded rowing videos on demand
  • free form rowing journeys
  • on the mat workouts such as pilates and strength training for when you’d like a break from rowing.

This library is constantly being updated with new content.

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Access to the Hydrow community

You’ll be able to interact with virtual teammates on Hydrow’s leaderboard. You can row and compete with other Hydrow members.

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Hydrow review - best rowing machine
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Up to $150 off packages: Hydrow

Quiet workouts

The reactive electromagnetic resistance used by Hydrow makes for a more silent rowing machine, as magnetic resistance is a frictionless technology.

Hydrow is quieter than other rowing machines, which use air or water resistance. 

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High definition monitor

The Hydrow features a 22-inch touchscreen monitor, speakers, and electromagnetic resistance controlled through a computer.

Hydrow Special Offers

Save up to $150 with Hydrow Packages:

How Does the Hydrow Rower Work?

A Hydrow rower works similarly to any other rowing machine, as it simulates the experience of rowing.

However, with more advanced technology, Hydrow provides a higher quality machine than some of its competitors.

It uses electromagnetic resistance, which allows for a quieter and smoother rowing experience than air or water resistance.

Another unique difference here is that your monthly Hydrow membership, which costs $38 per month, will allow you to access a whole library of live workouts from instructors actually out on the water.

How Much Does the Hydrow Cost?

A Hydrow costs $2245. The price includes:

  • Free shipping.
  • 1-year warranty for home use.
  • Hydrow membership with unlimited profiles. That way, your whole family can use the Hydrow membership at no extra cost.

You can also choose between a Starter Package or Pro Package.

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Hydrow review starter package
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Hydrow Starter Package

At $2520, the Starter Package also includes:

  • an under-machine mat
  • polar heart rate monitor
  • Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Headphones.

Save up to $100 for a limited time: Hydrow Starter Package

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Hydrow review pro package
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Hydrow Pro Package

At $2705, the Pro Package includes all of the above, as well as:

  • On the Mat Workout Kit (workout mat, 2 yoga blocks, and a multi-resistance band set) 
  • Performance foam roller.

Save up to $150 for a limited time: Hydrow Pro Package

Does Hydrow Offer a Free Trial?

Hydrow comes with a 30-day risk-free trial for first-time customers, which means that you can return your machine within 30 days and get a full refund.

With the risk-free trial, you will not have to pay for the re-shipping charges.

How Much is the Hydrow App?

The Hydrow App can be downloaded for free. To access the workouts and create a profile you can use your Hydrow rower membership which is $38 a month after the first year (which is provided for free).

You can also access some of Hydrow’s workout content from your phone or iPad, even if you don’t have a Hydrow Rower.

This is done through the Hydrow Digital Basic subscription which costs $19.99 per month.

It is a cheaper option and the workouts are not designed to work with a Hydrow Rower, so the variety of workouts may be more limited.

Hydrow Special Offers

Save up to $150 with Hydrow Packages:

Can You Use Hydrow Without a Subscription?

Although you can use the Hydrow rower without a subscription, Hydrow do recommend purchasing a membership if you choose to buy one of their machines.

This is because the membership is an integral part of the Hydrow rowing sessions. So if you’re not interested in the interactive workouts, this might not be the best rowing machine for you.

Without an active membership, your rowing machine will remain in ‘Just Row Mode,’ and the overall rowing experience that Hydrow aims to provide will be limited.

Hydrow review stand 1

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Does the Hydrow Fold Up?

Hydrow is partially collapsible. You can fold the machine so that the screen is down against the body.

You can also save space by storing your Hydrow upright when collapsed. You will need to purchase the Upright Storage Kit for this at $69.99.

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

Up to $150 off packages: Hydrow

Hydrow Customer Reviews

Hydrow scored 4.7 out of 5 stars from 5,678 reviews on the independent review site Trustpilot.

The vast majority of customer reviews were positive. Reviewers reported that they liked using their Hydrow for a low-impact full-body workout.

Others appreciated the coach-led workouts.

Many said they felt this rower is good value for money and easy to set up.

Some users had issues with shipping and delivery, which seemed to be resolved by Hydrow. Once their machines arrived, they enjoyed the rower.

Here’s what a couple of customers had to say:

Hydrow Review - hydrow rower customer review

Hydrow Review - hydrow rower customer review

Is Hydrow Worth the Money?

If you’re looking for a modern rowing machine with interactive workouts and a quiet motor, Hydrow is worth the money. Their many satisfied customer reviews also back this up.

If you’re not interested in having access to workouts and don’t mind a slightly noisier machine, a standard rower might be a better fit.

Hydrow’s rowers are great for live workouts, immersive classes, and the electromagnetic resistance means that it performs quietly.

It’s also a good option if you’re someone who feels motivated by being part of an active community, as you can compete with other Hydrow members through their leaderboard.

The Hydrow rower is partially foldable, which is ideal for home use as it can be conveniently stored away.

Hydrow Special Offers

Save up to $150 with Hydrow Packages:

Is Rowing Good for Your Back? 

Rowing can strengthen the trapezii in the upper back and the lats in the lower back, but you need to be careful of your posture while exercising.

Research has found that 30-50% of rowers whose training sessions on a rowing machine lasted over 30 minutes experienced an episode of back pain. This is most likely because they were using the wrong form when rowing. [2]

You should keep your back straight, and your core engaged when using a rowing machine and push predominantly with your legs.

Rowing does strengthen the back when done with the correct technique.

Hydrow vs concept2 - what is the correct rowing technique

Concept2 Rower Review

Concept2 is best known for its air resistance indoor rowing machines, which can be found in most gyms. According to Concept2, its rowers are considered to be the standard training machines for competitive athletes.

The Model D is the most widely used version of Concept2. It has been manufactured, with updates, since 2003.

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

Why Are Concept2 Considered the Best Rowers?

Concept2 is a reliable brand used by industry professionals. Their machines are known for their durability.

The main benefits of Concept2 rowers include:

Smooth gliding experience: Model D’s flywheel has a damper that adjusts the air resistance, meaning you have complete control over the resistance level as you row.

Simple design, easy-to-read performance monitor: The PM5 Performance Monitor keeps track of your heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, as well as your pace and watts.  

Built-in programmable workouts: The monitor also offers programmable workouts and games, helping you stay motivated while exercising. 

Easy to assemble and disassemble: Model D can be taken apart for easy storage.

Large design: Concept2 rowers are relatively large, with a maximum user weight capacity of 500 lbs. They can accommodate even tall rowers.

Quiet enough to watch TV: Model D is not entirely silent, but it is much quieter than older versions of the rowing machine. You should be able to listen to music or watch TV at a normal volume during workouts. 

Warranties: It comes with a 5-year warranty for frame parts and a 2-year warranty for all other parts.

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

How Do the RowErg Model D Indoor Rowers Work?

Compared to Hydrow, Concept2 offers fewer high-tech options. They are a good choice for people looking for a less flashy but very reliable rowing machine brand.

The PM5 Performance Monitor keeps track of your progress, and you can store this information in its internal memory or transfer it to a USB drive. Concept2 also offers an app that allows you to take part in live competitions and coaching.

Concept2 rowers are fitted with wheels, so they’re handy for those who need to move their machine around regularly.

Concept2 machines are particularly suitable if you are limited in space.

The frame lock in the middle of the machine allows the rower to split into two halves without using any tools.

That way, the rower takes up much less room when not in use. It also makes transporting it more manageable, and it has wheels that make it mobile.

How Much Do Concept2 Rowers Cost?

The standard RowErg costs $900, and the RowErg with tall legs costs $1050.

The Dynamic Indoor Rower costs $1250.

Hydrow vs concept2 - which is the best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

Concept2 Rower Reviews: Model D

The Concept2 Model D Rower scored an almost perfect 4.9 out of 5 stars from a total of 7221 customer reviews on Amazon.

Customers liked that this rower was simple to set up and that the instructions were easy to follow.

While most reviews do not mention any issues with the rower being too loud, a minority found that the noise was an issue.

Overall, customers felt that the Concept2 Model D was well worth the price.

Here’s what one customer had to say:

Concept2 model d review

What is the Best-Rated Home Rowing Machine?

Based on Amazon and Trustpilot’s customer reviews, Concept2 has a marginally higher rating than Hydrow – but the difference is negligible. Both have an average rating of well over 4.5 out of 5 stars from thousands of customer reviews.

Is the Concept2 Rower Worth the Money?

A Concept2 rower is definitely worth the money for anyone looking for a reliable and durable rowing machine for home use. 

Professional rowers use this brand, so you know that they create good quality products to high standards.

Concept2 is also relatively affordable, especially if you consider that their machines are designed to last a lifetime. 

The Concept2 Model D is a great choice for anyone with a small living space because it can also be quickly taken apart and stored away.

Concept2 Check Latest Offers

Concept2 Model D

Hydrow vs Concept2, Which is Better?

Overall, both Hydrow and Concept2 are excellent choices for home rowing machines; however, they have some key differences.

Hydrow is better for those looking for a rower with low noise levels and a wide range of premium interactive workouts.

Concept2 is better for those looking for a durable and reliable brand at a more affordable price point, which is also simpler to use.

Hydrow has a vast library of live and on-demand immersive workout resources, making it excellent for anyone who would feel motivated by being part of a community.

Its 22″ color touchscreen also helps you to feel as if you are actually on the water.

Concept2 has a lower price point than Hydrow and does offer an app, but it’s less sophisticated, as you mainly use it to log your workout results.

However, you can still get involved with the Concept2 community by taking part in their online challenges.

Concept2 rowers are best known for their reliability and longevity, backed up by their customer reviews.

Concept2 rowers are also easier to store away, as they can be separated into two parts.

The Hydrow can only be collapsed at the neck of the rower, in order to store the screen against the body.

Nonetheless, Hydrow is the better option if you’re concerned about noise. The rower is much quieter thanks to its advanced electromagnetic resistance, especially during the more intense workouts.

Rowing is a great way to stay fit as it works almost every muscle group in the body.

The Concept2 and Hydrow are undoubtedly two of the best options on the market. And with a rower at home, you can work out no matter what the weather!

Hydrow Special Offers

Save up to $150 with Hydrow Packages:

Concept2 Offers

Concept2 Model D

Hydrow FAQs

Is Hydrow good for beginners?

Yes – Hydrow is suitable for people at any skill or fitness level.

Can you use Hydrow without a subscription?

Yes, although Hydrow do not recommend it.

What should my drag be on Hydrow?

Hydrow’s drag is set at 104 by default. They recommend starting at this level first as they say this drag level best simulates the feeling of really rowing on the water for most people.

Can you watch Netflix on Hydrow?

No, you can only use the monitor on your Hydrow Rower to follow Hydrow’s interactive workouts.

Where does Hydrow ship from?

Hydrow currently ships orders from their website in the US only. Outside of the US, Hydrow Rowers are sold by region partners.

Does Hydrow have Bluetooth?

Hydrow Rowers are Bluetooth enabled, so you can connect them with your Bluetooth headphones, hearing aids, and speakers, as well as heart rate monitors.

Hydrow Special Offers

Save up to $150 with Hydrow Packages:

Concept2 Model D FAQs

How long will a Concept2 rower last?

Concept2 machines last for tens of millions of miles. For many people, they can last for 20+ years.

Where are Concept2 rowers made?

Concept2 rowers are made in their manufacturing facility in Vermont.

How loud is the Concept2 Rower?

If you’re using it at a high intensity, it can be a little louder than other kinds of rowing machines because it uses air resistance. It may sound a bit like a washing machine or dryer. Models D and E are significantly quieter than the old C and B models.

Concept2 Offers

Concept2 Model D

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